Ludo Admires Roy Choi, Nobu, and Chang, But Mom's Still #1

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Ludo at Momofuku Noodle Bar Photo: Melissa Hom

Who are the chefs that Ludo Lefebvre respects? The king of pop-ups pens a piece for Sundance Channel exploring his top ten favorite culinary influences. Naturally, mentors like Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Passard, Marc Maneau, and Guy Martin form the core of Ludo's education, but he also expresses admiration for Tony Bourdain's free-roaming embrace of regional cooking that influenced Lefebvre's own traveling program (even if he's never had Tony's food). Ludo also loves David Chang, whose Momofuku Noodle Bar he recently visited and analyzed for Grub Street's N.Y. Diet feature after an epic meal. And what about closer to home?

Ludo reveals that his very first experience with sushi was eating it at Nobu, and he admits he was lucky while picking Matsuhisa to start his list. And not only do the people love Roy Choi, chefs do too, including Ludo, who identifies with Choi, as "He was trained in a fine dining background, but is now doing things his own way. Hey, that sounds like me, too! No wonder why I like him."

But for his very favorite top chefs, Ludo stays close to his heart, putting his friend, Farley Boyle from New Jersey, in the number two spot for her home-cooked meals. For the number one position, Ludo picks a chef few could probably argue with: his mom. Ludo says, "More than cooking, [she and his grandmother] taught me how to dine, as the French do, and truly celebrate food and our time together around the table."

Top 10 Ludo's Favorite Chefs [Sundance Channel]